Judge Chester A Ray served the county as Prosecuting Attorney from 1947 to 1951 and 1957 to 1960 and 20th Circuit Court judge from 1967 to 1970.[1]  He passed away before the end of his term, Judge Wendell Miles being appointed to fill out the remainder of it.[2]

Judge Ray was a co-founder, along with attorney Ethol W Stone, of the Allegan County Community Foundation.  The aim of the foundation is to assist the poor of Allegan County and was endowed principally through a $1.2 million codicil in Stone’s will, executed in 1970.[3]

The foundation’s Chester A Ray Center for Men, a drug and alcohol recovery facility, is the late judge’s legacy to the region.  “The program consists of four phases during a 16 –month period that guides participants through require-ments to pay court fines and costs, drug testing, cur-few, case review, probation meetings, substanceabuse treatment and education.” A few testimonials…

“Chester A Ray was great, I will recommend this place to everyone!  The counseling is great and I’ve learned how to live life comfortably and the staff are friendly and very helpful.”

“At Chester A Ray, I found recovery.  I could fill a book of gratitude to you all!”[4]


  1. http://politicalgraveyard.com/bio/ray.html#900.51.35; “Allegan County Officials,” Kalamazoo Valley Family News Letter 2(1), (Sep 1972).
  2. James Townsend; in Ann Paeth, “Oral History Interview with James Townsend,” Sesquicentennial Oral History Project: 150 Stories for 150 Years (15 Jul 1997), 9.
  3. Lawyer Gives County Folks $1.2 Million,” Sarasota Journal (26 Jan 1970): 15.
  4. Ottagan Addictions Recovery (2nd Quarter, 2007)

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